Saturday, March 19, 2011

Purim

On Saturday night, March 19th, religious Jews around the world will behave in a way that violates common stereotypes of people of faith. We will wear silly, colorful costumes, consume a great deal of alcohol, exchange gift baskets and listen to raucous public readings of the one book of the Bible that never mentions God.

The holiday of Purim celebrates the deliverance from danger described in the book of Esther, and even though divine intervention is never specifically described, the complicated events clearly show the hidden hand of Providence. “Esther,” not coincidentally, comes from the Hebrew word for “hidden,” and the costumes also emphasize that the Almighty sometimes disguises his plans. Just as he used the ancient Persian Jew-hater, Haman, for a higher purpose, we can hope that God also intends a benign purpose in dealing with the latter day Persian Jew-hater, Ahmadinijad.

SOURCE

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The Threat to Freedom: The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Department of Homeland Security

Briefing to the Tea Party Caucus of the US House of Representatives February 17, 2011 By Tom DeWeese:

My name is Tom DeWeese, President of the American Policy Center, and according to the Southern Poverty Law Center I am a right wing extremist, a racist and a potentially violent terrorist.

In March, 2010, SPLC issued a report entitled “Rage on the Right: The Year in Hate and Extremism,” in which groups opposed to issues like the Obama health care plan and illegal immigration were lumped with white supremacist groups like the National Socialist Movement and Skin Heads.

In August, 2010 SPLC launched an attack against my organization and our national conference, The Freedom Action Conference, held at Valley Forge, PA, and featured such speakers as best selling author Tom Woods, former presidential candidate Michael Badnarik, Sheriff Richard Mack, several respected state legislators, and many more well known spokesmen.

The title of the SPLC attack against me read, “Patriot Rhetoric Becomes Increasingly Violent,” and said we were “united by rage” at the federal government. Not one speaker at our conference advocated violence or lawlessness of any kind. Yet we were labeled as dangerous and potentially violent terrorists.

Annually SPLC puts out a list of what it calls “hate” groups and individuals it deems dangerous to the nation. That list is almost exclusively respected pro- Constitution spokesmen.

Now why do I care what this private organization, with its own political agenda, says about me? Because the Southern Poverty Law Center has direct ties to the Department of Homeland Security, helping to write official DHS policy that may affect my life, my freedom, my ability to travel and my ability to speak out. Consider the following facts:

* Item: In 2009, The DHS issued a report entitled “Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.”

That official document of an agency of the United States government said “Right-wing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movement, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly anti-government, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”

* Item: Two weeks later, the DHS released a second report entitled: “Domestic Extremism Lexicon,” designed to provide specific definitions of just who may be Right wing extremists.

That report labeled the following to be extremists, bordering on terrorism: Those concerned over the economy; loss of jobs; foreclosures; antagonism toward the Obama Administration; Criticism of free trade programs; anti-abortion; oppose same sex marriage; believe in the “end times;” stockpile food; oppose illegal immigration; oppose a New World Order; oppose the UN; oppose global governance; fear of Communist regimes; oppose loss of US manufacturing to overseas nations; oppose loss of US prestige; and use of the internet (or alternative media) to express any of these ideas.

Right after both of these reports were issued, there was the shooting at the Holocaust Museum. Next to their news reports on the incident, many newspapers carried side bar articles citing the DHS reports, basically confirming that such violence is perpetrated by right wing nuts and justifying the concerns of the DHS – just like clockwork. Yet there was absolutely no connection found between that shooter and the right wing. But the damage was done.

And there’s more. The Department of Homeland Security has established Fusion Centers in each state. These are designed to combine federal, state and local law enforcement. Their stated purpose is to assure immediate and efficient response to a terrorist attack or a Katrina-like disaster without bureaucratic red tape.

* Item: In 2009, the Missouri Fusion Center set off a fire storm over a report it issued entitled “The Modern Militia Movement.” Reported Fox News, the report, “identifies the warning signs of potential terrorists for law enforcement communities.”

In other words, this report was issued to law enforcement agencies across the state as official documentation warning who the cops should look out for as potential violent terrorists. The list of potential terrorists included Americans who voted for presidential candidate Ron Paul; Constitution Party presidential candidate Chuck Baldwin; and Libertarian Party presidential candidate Bob Barr. It also cited those of us who opposed the creation of a North American Union with Canada and Mexico.

* Item: Just last month, immediately following the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the Arizona Fusion Center issued a report saying that the shooter was influenced by a right wing group called American Renaissance. Immediately the mainstream media picked up the report and flooded the airways with the story that the radical and violent right wing was responsible for the shootings.

The information was completely wrong. There is no evidence that there was ever any connection between the shooter and American Renaissance. Moreover, American Renaissance has never advocated violence or extremism. The only connection between American Renaissance and extremism is that the Southern Poverty Law Center listed them as a hate group. A detail that interestingly found its way into the Arizona Fusion Center report as fact.

* Item: in the Spring of 2010, the Department of Homeland Security organized a “Countering Violent Extremism Working Group.” This is an advisory council given the task of creating a plan to reach out to local law enforcement and community activists for training to respond to potential violence and terrorist threat.

Leafing through the report one gets the distinct impression that the plan is basically a “turn in your neighbor,” neighborhood- watch approach. It talks extensively of “sharing” information, along with “training, training, training.”

Training for what? To identify potential terrorists, of course. And who are those potential terrorist? A look at the members of the working group offers a clue. While the group includes several public officials and law enforcement officials from around the nation, and it also includes Mohamed Magid, president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and unindicted co-conspirator in a case concerning the funding of Muslim terrorist organizations. And the working group member list also includes Richard Cohen, President of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

In addition, as one of the “Subject Matter Experts,” it lists Laurie Wood, an analyst for the Southern Poverty Law Center and an instructor for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.

That training center is run by the Southern Poverty Law Center and is one of the most visible direct links between DHS, the Fusion Centers and SPLC. Law enforcement agencies actually send their personnel to these training classes to gain Federal Law Enforcement Training Center certification.

That means that policy for this DHS working group is being created by the very organization that has labeled those who advocate Constitutional law to be potential terrorists.

In addition, the “training” called for in the report will most likely be conducted, at least in part, by the SPLC’s Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.

The pattern is clear, one of the nation’s leading hate groups, the Southern Poverty Law Center, which opposes even the right of free speech by people it labels potential terrorists, is helping the largest federal enforcement agency in the nation to create its policy. That policy clearly states, according to DHS reports, that anyone disagreeing with actions of the American government is a potential terrorist and must be, at least, watched and monitored by federal, state, and local authorities.

The result of such surveillance could possibly lead to loss of freedom, loss of jobs, loss of the ability to travel, and loss of the ability to speak publicly for anyone who opposes the private agenda of the Southern Poverty Law Center. It is an effort to silence their opponents. Honest political debate is now being interpreted as dangerous extremism.

Why is DHS dealing with such people? Are the policies of SPLC the same policies of the United States? If so, then freedom in America is in grave danger, indeed.

I believe there needs to be an immediate Congressional investigation into the ties between the Department of Homeland Security and the Southern Poverty Law Center and any other radical groups.

Particular attention should be paid to SPLC’s tax exempt status and the amount of money it receives from DHS or any other agency. And there should be an immediate stop to American law enforcement being trained by SPLC’s Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.

The specific purpose of the Department of Homeland Security is to protect the “STATE” against all enemies. That has come to include anyone who uses their first amendment right to speak out against specific policies. Apparently, that has been interpreted by DHS to mean a threat to the STATE.

May I remind you that the tanks that ran over the student protesters in Tiananmen Square in Communist China were also protecting the STATE against its enemies.

I fear that if private groups with their own political agendas, like the SPLC are allowed to continue feeding their own brand of hatred into the policies of DHS then such a comparison with China is not too far off. I don’t think that is the America each of you pledged to serve.

SOURCE

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Progressive Government Is Obsolete

By Stephen Goldsmith, the deputy mayor of New York City

The rule-based civil service was a step forward from Tammany Hall. But today's regulations stifle government workers at a time when getting value for tax dollars is more important than ever.

Across the country, the interests of organized labor, elected officials and taxpayers are colliding over wages, work rules and the astronomical costs of retiree pensions and health care. As important as these specific issues are to resolve, there is another, more fundamental problem causing so many Americans to lose faith in their government: It is not government unions per se but progressive government itself—long celebrated in Wisconsin, New York and elsewhere—that no longer produces progressive results.

In the early 20th century, the progressives championed a rule-based approach to public-sector management that was a big step forward from the cronyism and corruption of Tammany Hall. Today, however, the very rules that once enhanced accountability, transparency and efficiency now stifle the creativity of public-sector workers and reduce the ability of public investments to create opportunities for citizens—outcomes precisely the opposite of those intended by Progressive Era reformers.

New York City has more than 300,000 employees who work under more than 100 collective-bargaining agreements, along with layers of bureaucratic state civil-service laws. State law mandates that over 1,500 job titles must be filled through competitive written exams, specifically ignoring an employee's actual performance or qualifications. We are even required to administer a civil-service test for the head of our Police Department's counterterrorism unit! (We found a way around it.)

Seniority rules require that layoffs are based on date of hire, not merit. These rules also prevent any significant rewards for outstanding performance and make dismissing bad apples in the Big Apple all but impossible. Even asking employees for their ideas can be against the rules.

No one wants a return to the bad old days when public employees feared arbitrary dismissals. Today, however, the pendulum has swung too far in the opposite direction. Rather than too few rules governing public employees, there are far too many, and they hurt the very people progressive reformers cared most about: the least fortunate members of society who depend the most on effective support services.

A hundred years ago, progressives envisioned a highly professional public-sector work force reining in exploitative corporate interests. They saw those on the margin being victimized both by corrupt government and business interests. They believed that the worst abuses of capitalism—think Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle"—would be reined in by government regulation.

Ironically, today we find that in many cases special interests are working in the bureaucracy, using Progressive Era rules to protect the status quo and themselves.

Recent efforts to trim approximately 150 laborers, carpenters and electricians from city hospitals, for example, were halted by a lawsuit brought by the unions. In a city facing a multibillion-dollar deficit, every nonessential dollar spent is a dollar less available for hospital care—or shelter for the homeless, or police for troubled neighborhoods. In a word, these special- interest interventions ultimately lead to socially regressive results.

For cities to survive, we need a post-progressive approach in which the efficient creation of the common good is the shared goal of labor, management and citizens alike. This means rethinking the rules of the early 20th century in light of the realities of the 21st century. A system that hires without discretion, promotes without considering performance, and lays off teachers without regard to merit cannot truly serve its citizens.

Progressive Era reformers rightly targeted corruption among Boss Tweed-type contracts for city work. Today, however, excruciating contracting rules produce unintended results.

Antiquated and overly complex procurement rules lead to year-long delays and waste millions of taxpayer dollars. These complex bureaucratic processes lock out small businesses and lock in existing contractors. Simpler, less prescriptive processes with greater transparency would produce better, faster and cheaper results, minimize political favoritism, increase competition among contractors, and improve the quality of work done on the taxpayer's dime.

The current systems punish taxpayers in other ways too. Unaffordable pensions imposed by state legislators on unsuspecting citizens have created an unsustainable burden. In fiscal year 2012, New York City will pay $8.4 billion from its operating budget to fill a hole in its unfunded pension obligations. An expense of this magnitude leads directly to budget cuts for social programs and education, and to higher taxes that squeeze working families' budgets and kill jobs.

Would an increase in the "progressivity" of the tax system be the way out of our budget woes? More and more, urban mayors understand the futility of trying to tax their cities into prosperity. Few would dispute the fairness of a progressive tax system—but there are limits. In New York City, the highest-earning 1% of tax filers pay approximately 50% of the city's income taxes. Those paying the most are also best-positioned to relocate.

We need a new approach to governance that includes more respect not only for students in need of high-quality education but also for taxpayers, that has less job-killing red tape, and that fosters a more productive work force. The first rule of city government should be an unwavering commitment to delivering real value to the public with every tax dollar. That would be real progress.

SOURCE

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)

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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Obama WANTS high gasoline prices for Americans

In pursuit of a "Green" agenda

With poor Japan's nuclear reactors in crisis; with Middle East violence stripping bare American recklessness in relying on an Arab oil supply; with prices rising fast at the local gas pump, there is an almost apocalyptic tension growing in the absence of action on the American energy problem: Tons -- or, rather barrels and cubic feet -- of resources, and no will or even interest on the part of our trusted, responsible and feckless elected leaders to get it.

What is their problem? What is our problem?

Sarah Palin posted about this emerging crisis this week (and created a not-so-small news cycle in the process), taking on "The 4-Dollar-Per-Gallon President," which is probably a low-ball figure. Palin scored President Obama's energy program, which, at best, does nothing to reverse the rise in prices at the pump even in the long-term, which is what it seems we can reasonably ask of him.

Why doesn't it? Answer coming; first, the back-story.

Palin outlines Obama administration energy policies which include: a drilling moratorium (only two permits in the last year); Obama's 2012 budget that, for example, cuts tax incentives for energy exploration; and anti-drilling regulatory policies. She discusses in some detail an area north of the Arctic Circle where the U.S. Geological Survey tells us there are some 90 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil and 1,670 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable natural gas, "one-third of which is in Alaskan territory."

"That's our next Prudhoe Bay right there," she writes, describing thousands of jobs, hundreds of billions of dollars in wages and revenue, and a home-grown energy flow that wouldn't depend on the shaky grip of some desiccated desert bandit with a harem. Palin continues: "This would be great news if only the federal government would allow Shell" -- the company that purchased the leases -- "to drill there. But it won't."

Sure enough, as Palin points out, just last month, Shell announced an end to exploratory drilling this year in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas after Alaskan native and environmentalist groups went before the federal Environmental Appeals Board and successfully challenged the drilling permits Shell had received from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Now, who is it that we elected on that appeals board to make this crucial drilling decision? There's something out of whack about this system; something we can't touch; something we can't even see. Particularly in our unstable era, such a decision is an urgent matter for open debate by elected representatives; not for those "faceless bureaucrats" you read about (or maybe not).

Of course, we elected Barack Obama. The question Americans must ask of him before next time (heaven forefend) is whether he even wants low gas prices.

Judging by his actions, his rhetoric, his Third-World, anti-imperialist, Frantz-Fanon-imbued vision of Diminished America, my hunch is no. To this president's way of thinking, high gas prices are a solution, not a problem. Cheap energy is the launch pad of a soaring economy, one beyond government (his) control. And this president wants control: over what we eat (less), drive (smaller) and live (lower thermostats). As Palin reminds us, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu actually pines for gasoline prices as high as Europe's ($9-plus) as a tool of social regimentation "to coax consumers into buying more-efficient cars," as the Wall Street Journal reported, "and living in neighborhoods closer to work." Chu told the paper, "Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe." Oh, and by the way: Not one senator whose salary we pay bothered to query Chu during his confirmation hearing about how regular Americans with hour-long commutes (as opposed to Berkeley professors like Chu) would fare in this social-engineering scheme.

"Energy is the building block of our economy," Palin wrote. "The President is purposely weakening that building block and weakening our economy."

I think Palin's right. This isn't about "experience," "ineptitude" or "inaction." Such excuses would explain failure to achieve a more or less conventional goal of, for lack of a better term, American greatness. That just isn't what Obama has in mind. Otherwise, he'd be doing absolutely everything in his considerable presidential powers to bring American oil to market ASAP.

SOURCE

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Shun the Expert and Pass the Ammunition

“No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life” Lord Salisbury told us “as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe.”

For close to a century experts have told us to put our trust in government. We have a host of them in our life everyday: Federal Reserve bankers, Education Department officials, Union economists, scientists on the government dole, Energy Department officials, all here for our own good.

Yet, government doesn’t even pretend to try to solve the very problems they claim to care about. The “experts” at the EPA designed a tax on carbon to combat so-called global warming and even they won’t claim that the tax will bring down the earth’s temperature.

Still, a failed result won’t stop the experts from insisting on this tax for our own good.

As a consequence of the care of so many government experts who insist on doing stuff for our own good, we are now at a point where nothing is true.

* Men marry men and we call it marriage. Doctors kill babies and we call it choice. We practice targeted discrimination against certain classes of people, under the law, and we call it justice.

* We ban the religion of some in the public square as a matter of taste and call it a moral good.

* In the name of safety, the government takes away guns for self-defense, but sues states for enforcing federal immigration laws.

* We “improve” public education by lowering standards rather than raising them; and we design a medical and retirement "safety net" that threatens not just life, but everything our country was built on: liberty, opportunity, property.

My religion tells me to fear not. That’s why I cling to it. Others have done the same for 2000 years. My gun too tells me to fear not, although its ammunition isn’t as refined as the word of God. Good men have armed themselves for the 500 years since Europeans first lived in North America. So, I cling to the gun as well.

Expert government opinion? It’s been king for 70 years and it has a very spotty record.

Truth, I know, always resides wherever brave men still have ammunition. And I'll take truth over experts everyday.

SOURCE

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The superior culture of Japan

Larry Elder doesn't mention New Orleans below but ...

Japan's prime minister calls the 9.0 earthquake and the following tsunami the greatest crisis in Japan since World War II. Ten thousand people are feared dead. Millions are without power, and millions sleep outdoors in cold weather. But we haven't seen looting. So I posted this question on Facebook and Twitter.

"Race is not an issue," Mike replied. "Third World countries like Haiti loot due to poverty. Japan is like America, an economic superpower. Plain and simple."

"Poverty equals crime" is the standard "plain and simple" explanation, especially to the left. The analysis contains holes big enough to drive a Hummer through.

In the "economic superpower" called America, we see widespread looting following natural disasters, as well as during power blackouts, "civil unrest" and basketball team victory celebrations. If we attribute this to American poverty, what about Japanese poverty?

"Japan Tries to Face Up to Growing Poverty Problem," read the headline of a 2010 New York Times article. Here are excerpts:

"After years of economic stagnation and widening income disparities, this once proudly egalitarian nation is belatedly waking up to the fact that it has a large and growing number of poor people. The Labor Ministry's disclosure in October that almost one in six Japanese, or 20 million people, lived in poverty in 2007 stunned the nation and ignited a debate over possible remedies that has raged ever since.

"Many Japanese, who cling to the popular myth that their nation is uniformly middle class, were further shocked to see that Japan's poverty rate, at 15.7 percent, was close to the ... 17.1 percent in the United States, whose glaring social inequalities have long been viewed with scorn and pity here. ...

"Following an internationally recognized formula, the (Labor Ministry) set the poverty line at about $22,000 a year for a family of four, half of Japan's median household income. Researchers estimate that Japan's poverty rate has doubled since the nation's real estate and stock markets collapsed in the early 1990s, ushering in two decades of income stagnation and even decline."

If Japan's percentage of people living below the poverty line is about the same as ours, and if poverty causes crime as Mike suggests, why isn't the crime rate in Japan about the same as ours?

San Francisco's Chinatown in the 1960s became one of the most impoverished areas in California. Public policy professors James Q. Wilson and Richard Hernstein wrote: "One neighborhood in San Francisco had the lowest income, the highest unemployment rate, the highest proportion of families with incomes under $4,000 per year, the least educational attainment, the highest tuberculosis rate and the highest proportion of substandard housing. ... That neighborhood was called Chinatown. Yet, in 1965, there were only five persons of Chinese ancestry committed to prison in the entire state of California."

Two low-income areas outside of Boston -- South Boston and Roxbury -- were featured several years ago in U.S. News & World Report. They had similar socio-economic profiles: high levels of unemployment; the same percentage of children born to single-parent households; and the same percentage of people living in public housing. But the violent crime rate in Roxbury, predominately black, was four times higher than that of South Boston, predominately white.

Culture and values explain why some countries and some communities experience crime, while others do not. This explains why many students from Asian countries outperform equally "disadvantaged" black and brown students from the same "underperforming" inner-city government schools.

Culture and values explain a 2011 article headlined, "New Zealand Police 'Sickened' at Looting in Quake-Hit City": "New Zealand police said ... they were 'sickened' at a spate of looting, email scams and bogus appeals for charity in the wake of the deadly Christchurch earthquake. ... Lootings and burglaries, including one at the home of a woman feared dead in the disaster, have also been reported, while fraudulent emails soliciting charity donations were also doing the rounds." The Japanese earthquake was over 8,000 times more powerful than the New Zealand quake earlier this year. [New Zealand has a substantial Maori minority who sometimes show little respect for private property rights or rules of any kind]

Culture and values explain the fear in Egypt and Libya of looting from museums that house precious historical and cultural artifacts.

Culture and values explain why in Los Angeles, a city with a 46 percent Hispanic population and a 10 percentage Asian population, one sees no Latinos or Asians holding up "Will Work for Food" signs. When South Korea played for soccer's 2010 World Cup, the Los Angeles Korean community received permits to view games on big-screen monitors in the streets near Koreatown. The police said the streets were more trash-free after the games than before.

Culture and values are not set in stone. They can and do change for the better -- especially when we accept responsibility and stop blaming bad behavior on poverty. Plain and simple.

SOURCE

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Fukushima heroes: Not afraid to die

Bushido lives

Since the disaster struck in Japan, about 800 workers have been evacuated from the damaged nuclear complex in Fukushima. The radiation danger is that great.

However, CBS News correspondent Jim Axelrod reports that a handful have stayed on the job, risking their lives, to try to save the lives of countless people they don't even know. The exact number of workers is unclear and has been reported to be anywhere from 50 to 180.

Although communication with the workers inside the nuclear plant is nearly impossible, a CBS News consultant spoke to a Japanese official who made contact with one of the workers inside the control center. The official said that his friend told him that he was not afraid to die, that that was his job.

More HERE

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ELSEWHERE

Grass-roots Credited with Defeat of Same-sex 'Marriage' in Maryland: "As if we needed more proof that grassroots action brings real results, the recent defeat of a same-sex “marriage” law in Maryland demonstrates that ordinary citizens’ voices can make all the difference in legislative battles. Pro-family conservatives in Maryland were urged to contact their state assemblyman to tell them to preserve traditional marriage, and the pressure worked – the bill was effectively “killed.” Opponents of homosexual marriage give all the credit to a coalition of activists throughout the state, including traditional values conservatives and black churches who joined together to make up the wave of phone calls that led to the bill’s defeat. Homosexual activists had boasted prior to the citizens’ action that the bill’s passage was a done deal – obviously, that wasn’t the case."

Clever Congress shoots the consumer: "Get ready for big fee increases at your nearest ATM. Some of the nation's largest banks are boosting fees on their automated teller machine networks. The new fees could be especially costly for people who withdraw cash from another bank's ATM. Chase is now charging Illinois residents $5 every time a non-customer withdraws money from a Chase ATM. ... The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, passed by Congress last year .... included the Durbin amendment, which would limit banks' income from debit card fees."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)

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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

And a happy Pat's day to you all

There's plenty of Irish in me so I am pleased when people celebrate the saint in the wise Irish way. It's a hot day where I am so a cold beer will go down nicely a little later on.

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The hate for Sarah Palin

Mark Levin

The corporate hate for Sarah Palin at Politico is obvious. The latest is here. But if you google Politico and Palin, the evidence of a Politico agenda is overwhelming. And the manner in which Politico’s editors pursue their hate-Palin agenda is to cherry-pick the individuals they quote to make the point they want made. A couple of quick things:

1. As I demonstrated last week, remarkably George Will missed the Reagan Revolution not only in 1976 but as late as 1980. In the 1979 Republican Presidential Primary, his first choice was Howard Baker, his second choice was George H. W. Bush, and his third choice was Reagan. Not until days before the 1980 general election did he write on November 3, 1980 that Reagan deserved election. For all his wonderful columns, the Republican electorate better understood the needs of the nation and the excellence of a potential Reagan presidency than Will. It is hard to believe he was so wrong about a matter of such great import, despite Reagan’s presence on the national scene for many years.

2. Charles Krauthammer was not only wrong about Reagan, as late as 1980 he was a speech-writer for Vice President Walter Mondale. Krauthammer, like Will, not only missed the significance of the Reagan candidacy, but was putting words in the mouth of a terribly flawed politician from a philosophical perspective. I certainly do not begrudge, but in fact encourage, liberals becoming conservatives or Democrats becoming Republicans. Reagan was a Democrat who famously changed parties. But I do not believe that individuals touted by a left-wing “news” site as two of the leading conservative intellectuals, who stunningly opposed Reagan’s candidacy while both were of mature age and mind, are necessarily reliable barometers in this regard. The “non-intellectual” voters knew better.

3. It is apparent that several of President George W. Bush’s former senior staffers are hostile to Sarah Palin, including Karl Rove, David Frum, and Pete Wehner, to name only three. Pete is a good friend and a very smart guy. That said, Bush’s record, at best, is marginally conservative, and depending on the issue, worse. In fact, the Tea Party movement is, in part, a negative reaction to Bush’s profligate spending (including his expansion of a bankrupt Medicare program to include prescription drugs). And while Bush’s spending comes nowhere near Barack Obama’s, that is not the standard.

Moreover, Bush was not exactly among our most articulate presidents, let alone conservative voices. I raise this not to compare Bush to Palin, but to point out only a few of the situational aspects of the criticism from the Bush community corner. (If necessary, and if challenged, I will take the time to lay out the case in all its particulars, as well as other non-conservative Bush policies and statements. No Republican president is perfect, of course, but certainly some are more perfect that others, if you will.)

This is not to say the folks cherry-picked by Politico are without accomplishment and merit. They clearly are accomplished. But that’s not the point. Most were not involved in either the Reagan Revolution or the Tea Party movement, and were not, to the best of my knowledge, early outspoken supporters of either. What is necessary is a full debate on each candidate’s substance and policy positions. Most of these Politico stories are little more than excuses to attack Palin, intended to damage her early on in case she should decide to run. This has been going on for some time now. If she is as weak as some think, why the obsession? Why the contempt?

Moreover, Palin has used social media and other outlets to comment substantively on a wide range of issues and policies. In fact, she has spoken on a wider array of issues than Youtube governor Chris Christie, popular among most of these folks, and her positions have, for the most part, been solidly conservative. (Christie’s positions on numerous issues important to conservatives are all but ignored by some of those complaining about Palin; indeed, the same could be said of potential presidential contenders Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, and Mitch Daniels, among others.)

My purpose in mentioning Christie here is to juxtapose the demands by “the intellectuals” on one politician versus another. Their inquisitiveness seems influenced by their political bias. That’s not unusual, but it requires underscoring lest their opinions be viewed or promoted as objective.

As a Reaganite pre-dating Reagan’s 1976 candidacy, the contempt for Palin does, in fact, remind me of the contempt some had for Reagan, especially from the media and Republican establishment, although no comparison is exact. I’ve not settled on a favorite would-be presidential candidate, but I also know media hit-jobs when I see them. I am hopeful more conservatives will begin to speak out about this or, before we know it, we will wonder why we are holding our noses and voting for another Republican endorsed by “the intellectuals” but opposed by a majority of the people.

SOURCE

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Hate is the Leftist way, not civility

[Obama's] Organizing for America has been a steady presence in Madison, Wisconsin. And this is their report on Saturday’s massive welcoming to the fourteen democratic senators who returned after three weeks hiding in Illinois, refusing to come to Madison for a vote:

"This is what democracy looks like!" the people are chanting and clapping with a pretty awesome beat. This is very real and it's happening now. Friends, allies, workers, we're all here at the capitol in Madison in the fight for our rights. The spirit inside and out of the packed building are filled with faces showing all ranges of emotions…”

There was no mention of that “range of emotion” that included hate.

Death threats to Wisconsin Republican Governor, Scott Walker, and his party’s eighteen Senators have been direct and unambiguous. They are numerous and specific and they are coming from protestors in sympathy with union protestors connected to the President of the United States. But the President is silent…Organizing for America is silent and so have been NBC, CBS, ABC, NPR, CNN, the New York Times, and most major media.

These are excerpts from an e-mail sent March 9 to Republican Senators:

“Read below for …possible scenarios in which you will die...I hope you have a good time in hell…we have planned…to put…a nice little bullet in your head... I as well as many others know where you and your family live…we wouldn’t leave it there….we have also built several bombs…placed in various locations around the areas in which we know that you frequent…that includes your house, your car, the state capitol, and well, I won’t tell you all of them because that’s just no fun…we will “get rid of” (in which I mean kill) you….Please make your peace with God as soon as possible and say goodbye to your loved ones….YOU WILL DIE!!!”

Only two months ago, President Barack Obama, Senator Dick Durbin and these same media outlets were clamoring for civility after the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords by a deranged gunman. Many accused Sarah Palin, the Tea Party and conservative radio hosts of creating the atmosphere that caused the shooting. Palin’s greatest sin was placing a gun crosshair over “targeted” districts. The Tea Party’s guilt came from claiming the Obama Healthcare Plan establishes “death panels”.…which it does.

Nancy Pelosi wept on the House floor months before the shooting, expressing her deep concern about the loss of civil discourse by the Tea Party. A mad rush ensued to comply with these new sensitivities to harsh rhetoric.

Yet when protestors in Madison began to call Scott Walker Hitler and Khadafy, and call for his death openly, it was ignored. The President’s first remarks were to claim the union was being “assaulted.” Earlier statements during the campaign made clear his solidarity with labor unions: most notably the purple thugs of the Service Employees International Union to whom he pledged undying loyalty.

Hamas and Hezbollah are famous for gaining power through providing practical help and humanitarian aid to citizens who are later called upon to further their deeper, more dangerous agenda.

Teachers…laborers…and sympathetic farmers beware. Organizing for America, the SEIU, the NEA and many of America’s labor unions have more on their mind than accomplishing your concerns… and more in common with the violence and intimidation of Hamas than with protecting “workers.”

You will rue the day you fancied you were being mistreated by losing your ability to quibble over benefits. For we will all live in the midst of ruin if they prevail.

SOURCE

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Blacks and Republicans

Thomas Sowell

San Francisco's irrepressible former mayor, Willie Brown, was walking along one of the city's streets when he happened to run into another former city official that he knew, James McCray.

McCray's greeting to him was "You're 10."

"What are you talking about?" Willie Brown asked.

McCray replied: "I just walked from Civic Center to Third Street and you're only the 10th black person I've seen."

That is hardly surprising. The black population of San Francisco is less than half of what it was in 1970, and it fell another 19 percent in the past decade.

A few years ago, I had a similar experience in one of the other communities further down the San Francisco peninsula. As I was bicycling down the street, I saw a black man waiting at a bus stop. As I approached him, he said, "You're the first black man I have seen around here in months!"

"It will be months more before you see another one," I replied, and we both laughed.

Actually, it was no laughing matter. Blacks are being forced out of San Francisco, and out of other communities on the San Francisco peninsula, by high housing prices.

At one time, housing prices in San Francisco were much like housing prices elsewhere in the country. But the building restrictions-- and outright bans-- resulting from the political crusades of environmentalist zealots sent housing prices skyrocketing in San Francisco, San Jose and most of the communities in between. Housing prices in these communities soared to about three times the national average.

The black population in three adjacent counties on the San Francisco peninsula is just under 3 percent of the total population in the 39 communities in those counties.

It so happens that these are counties where the voters and the officials they elect are virtually all liberal Democrats. You might be hard pressed to find similarly one-sided conservative Republican communities where blacks are such small percentages of the population.

Certainly that would be hard to find in states with a substantial total population of blacks. In California, a substantial black population has simply been forced by economics to vacate many communities near the coast and move farther inland, where the environmental zealots are not yet as strong politically, and where housing prices are therefore not yet as unaffordable.

With all the Republican politicians' laments about how overwhelmingly blacks vote for Democrats, I have yet to hear a Republican politician publicly point out the harm to blacks from such policies of the Democrats as severe housing restrictions, resulting from catering to environmental extremists.

If the Republicans did point out such things as building restrictions that make it hard for most blacks to afford housing, even in places where they once lived, they would have the Democrats at a complete disadvantage.

It would be impossible for the Democrats to deny the facts, not only in coastal California but in similar affluent strongholds of liberal Democrats around the country. Moreover, environmental zealots are such an important part of the Democrats' constituencies that Democratic politicians could not change their policies.

Although Republicans would have a strong case, none of that matters when they don't make the case in the first place. The same is true of the effects of minimum wage laws on the high rate of unemployment among black youths. Again, the facts are undeniable, and the Democrats cannot change their policy, because they are beholden to labor unions that advocate higher minimum wages.

Yet another area in which Democrats are boxed in politically is their making job protection for members of teachers' unions more important than improving education for students in the public schools. No one loses more from this policy than blacks, for many of whom education is their only chance for economic advancement.

But none of this matters so long as Republicans who want the black vote think they have to devise earmarked benefits for blacks, instead of explaining how Republicans' general principles, applied to all Americans, can do more for blacks than the Democrats' welfare state approach.

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

The gathering storm: "Many people understand that you cannot solve a debt problem by issuing more debt. They understand that an individual or a country cannot borrow their way to prosperity. The U.S. government is essentially bankrupt and dependent upon Ben Bernanke's printing press to keep up the appearance of solvency."

Minimum wage: The missing explanation: "So the unemployment rate among relatively unskilled workers is high -- 16 percent -- and it's hard to explain why they can't find jobs 'for less pay?' No, it's not, at least for some of them. The missing explanation is the minimum wage. On July 24, 2009, it increased by 70 cents an hour to $7.25 an hour. Given that there was deflation that year, the real increase was about 12 percent."

There’s no such thing as homemade ice cream: "In the freezer section of the grocery store, there's Vanilla Bean, French Vanilla, and yet another vanilla flavor called Homemade Vanilla. Now, come on! I'm in the store here, looking at rows and rows of commercial products produced by a vast capitalistic machinery, a cornucopia of frozen goods made by advanced industrial technologies, made from goods and services that require a global division of labor and a sophisticated trading and price system rooted in private property and replete with entrepreneurial risk at every stage of production."

62% Favor Repeal of Obamacare: "In a new Rasmussen survey, it shows that 62% are now in favor of repealing the Unconstitutional Obamacare. This is up 8% since the beginning of March, when only 54% favored repeal of the law. Rasmussen also points out that it has reached its highest support for repeal since May of last year.

The injustice of social justice: "Every once in a while, something comes along that perfectly encapsulates the idea of so-called 'social justice' in action. For all the wonderful critiques that have been written about this wretched concept by its many detractors, none quite match the elegant simplicity of a recent work by some of its advocates. I am referring here to a recent video made for the World Day of Social Justice in which students and teachers complete this sentence: Everyone has the right to _____."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)

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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

How political biases sometimes yield invalid research

I have been forwarded the essay below which originated from José L. Duarte, a Graduate Student in the Department of Psychology (Social Psychology Program) of Arizona State University. E-mail: jose.duarte@asu.edu. It's a lot like what I used to write for the journals in the now distant days when I took social science research seriously. It is an excellent critique of what goes on all the time among academic psychologists and sociologists. I therefore reproduce it below.

I hope Mr Duarte likes flipping burgers at McDonald's because I am fairly sure the essay will end his academic career. I wrote my critiques when I already had tenure.

I have myself made sweeping criticisms of work by John Jost. See here -- JR


I've followed with interest the controversy stemming from Jon Haidt's address at SPSP. One issue that has not been discussed is how the political biases of the field have severely undermined some of the research. I propose that we have a serious problem. Most research in social psychology does not touch on politics and has no obvious political implications. However, some of the research in sub-fields like political psychology and attitudes has deviated sharply from valid scientific methods. Researchers sometimes embed ideological assumptions into their hypotheses, constructs, and measures, in ways that make their studies invalid or even meaningless. Regrettably, I can't properly make my point without evaluating the work of noted social psychologists. I'm willing to do so here, and in future settings, because a) I think this is a serious problem for the field – these biases may ultimately weaken our very standing as a science, and b) these practices have gone unchecked for years, and a frank and open consideration of them is long overdue.

My first example of the phenomenon is the Napier and Jost (2008) Psych Science article "Why Are Conservatives Happier Than Liberals?"

In this article, the authors want to show that conservatives are happier than liberals because they "rationalize inequality" (by which they mean economic or financial inequality, such as unequal incomes). This is already an unanswerable research question. Why? To rationalize is to explain away an uncomfortable reality, often by making excuses for it. It is dissonance reduction. Thus, a basic precondition for conservatives to rationalize economic inequality is that economic inequality be uncomfortable for them. However, economic inequality is particularly uncomfortable only for leftists. Conservative ideology does not feature economic inequality as an injustice or a problem to be solved. (Libertarians are also largely unconcerned about it.) Therefore it's logically impossible for conservatives to rationalize it, since they aren't particularly bothered by it. (Jost's own data confirm that conservatives are relatively unconcerned about economic inequality.) A research program centered on conservative "rationalization" of something that only liberals care deeply about has no apparent way forward.

So how did the authors conduct the research? In Study 2, they operationalized the rationalization of inequality with a one-item measure: 1 (hard work doesn’t generally bring success—it’s more a matter of luck) to 10 (in the long run, hard work usually brings a better life). High ratings on this item were cast as rationalization of inequality. In other words, the authors took endorsement of the efficacy of hard work and called it rationalization, then plugged it in as a mediator between conservatism and happiness (note that this belief about the efficacy of hard work is a constituent conservative belief – we might find that other conservative beliefs work just as well as "mediators" here) . There was no attempt (in either study) to capture or measure any actual process of rationalization – they simply applied the label to conservatives for endorsing this standard conservative view on hard work. (It may be worth noting here that hard work actually does pay off, as I assume anyone who has mentored graduate students can attest – this is observationally self-evident and supported by massive amounts of data. So people are being labeled as rationalizers for simply endorsing an obviously true statement.)

Since no process of rationalization was exposed in Studies 1 or 2, and since it makes no sense that people who don't have a serious problem with economic inequality could be accused of rationalizing it, the article's results are essentially meaningless. The data don't tell us anything related to the hypotheses. This is what I mean by a lack a validity – the data do not represent the construct, and given the nature of this construct, it's unlikely that any data could. This research is a scientific non-sequitur: From (1) Conservatives are happier than liberals, and (2) Conservatives believe that hard work pays off, we conclude (3) Conservatives are happier than liberals because they rationalize inequality. Our only way out is if we treat the following statement as an objective fact: Economic inequality is unjust. If we treat this ideological claim as a fact, as a description of reality, then we might assume that all people are motivated to rationalize such economic inequality as exists in their communities, and proceed from there. But of course we cannot take this ideological claim as fact. It's a philosophical position held by one particular political ideology, and many people would disagree with it. Social scientists are in no position to ratify the truth or falsity of such philosophical positions.

In other work, Jost uses words like legitimize or justify, in addition to rationalize. The question might be something like "how do conservatives legitimize the status quo system?" All of these verbs are ideologically loaded, and the questions which rest on them are not answerable by social science. To ask why anyone legitimizes the status quo is to presume that the status quo is unjust and thus requires legitimization, rationalization, or justification. This assumption is fully an ideological/philosophical assumption, and has no place, nor any real utility, in framing scientific research.

Here are some analogous research questions: Why do liberals legitimize gay marriage? Are liberals less happy than conservatives because they rationalize abortion? These are exactly the same sorts of questions, and fully as invalid as the above. They presume that gay marriage is wrong and needs to be legitimized, or that abortion is wrong and must therefore be an object of rationalization. But of course, liberals don't grant that gay marriage or abortion are wrong, so there is nothing for them to legitimize or rationalize. A research program thus framed would have nowhere to go. If a scientist presented research framed by these conservatively-biased, loaded questions, we would immediately recognize it as scientifically invalid. But framed from a leftist perspective, such loaded questions have escaped scrutiny.

The field should discard ideologically-loaded constructs like these – constructs that have no scientific meaning because they rest on ideological assumptions, rather than observable facts.

A second example of how research is framed in biased ways: If we look at the Jost lab website, we find that many of the researchers frame their research around leftist ideological assumptions. To take just one example, Irina Feygina describes her research as focused on "the effect of motivation to justify the socioeconomic system on denial of environmental problems, such as ecological destruction and global warming, and resistance to implementing imperative pro-environmental changes to the status quo."

This is alarming. Social psychologists know what the imperative "pro-environmental" changes are? How? When did we discover the correct human values and ideals, or imperative policy reforms? Environmentalism is a political ideology, and as such it rests on various philosophical assumptions and values (e.g. a conception of the natural world as sacred; a view of human activities as unnatural; resources as static and collectively-owned; and a propensity to value the preservation of status quo ecologies more highly than some increment of human prosperity). Reasonable people might embrace or reject environmentalism, in whole or in part, for any number of reasons. We cannot treat environmentalism as self-evidently correct, any more than we can treat conservatism or Kantianism as self-evidently correct.

Imagine if a researcher focused her research on "resistance to imperative pro-Christian changes to the status quo", or "resistance to imperative pro-business changes to the status quo". I assume you get my point. We should not be in the business of investigating why people "resist" the truth of our personal ideologies, and a researcher so motivated will likely struggle to maintain an appropriate scientific posture.

I offer a principle from all this: If a research question requires that one assume that a particular ideology or value system is factually true, then that research question is invalid. Stated differently, if a research question has no meaning unless we assume that a given political ideology is factually true, then that research question is invalid (and cannot be meaningfully answered).

Critical to any science is the generation of testable hypotheses. The practices I've highlighted above will consistently yield untestable hypotheses, because they rest on the assumption that liberalism is true, which will never be testable. It is, after all, a question of values and value judgments, which are not subject to empirical validation (at least not by our methods). Modesty requires that we allow for the possibility that reasonable people might embrace values that differ from our own. Notably, researchers who employ such ideologically loaded hypotheses are very likely to find what they are looking for. For example, suppose I wanted to show that conservatives are happier because they "rationalize" war. Mirroring the Napier and Jost method, all I would have to do is ask conservatives if they think some countries are a threat to the USA, and label their affirmative responses as "rationalization of war". I would plug it in as a mediator between conservatism and happiness, which would likely work out. I could then publish my findings in a journal, concluding that conservatives are happier than liberals because they rationalize war, and garner some good media coverage. Apparently, no one would stop me. But would I respect myself in the morning? No, because such an article would have no standing as a work of science, and its conclusions would be completely unsupported by the data.

Among the sciences, social science operates with the most flexibility in constructs, methods, and measurement. This makes us especially vulnerable to bias (see John Ioannidis' work for more on this). I think we should be vigilant, ambitious, and idealistic about keeping our science clean. I assume nothing but the best of intentions on the part of the researchers I've critiqued, and I don't at all enjoy publicly critiquing them. Nevertheless, I submit that the issues I've raised here are not minor -- these are serious violations of the valid practice of social science. Our credibility and even our very standing as a science are at issue, and will be questioned by politicians, taxpayers, and scientists in other fields if these practices continue. Admittedly, this sort of validity issue has not been well-elaborated in our training or the literature. Yet I'm confident most researchers will agree that what I've offered here is a straightforward extension of construct validity and the features of testable hypotheses. The biases at issue represent a (correctable) blind spot in our field, and an unsurprising one, given the large overrepresentation of liberals.

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The Australian experience of socialized medicine

Jeremy Sammut

According to the Prime Minister, when Australians look at the debate that has raged in the US over ‘Obamacare’, they wonder what on earth Americans are going on about. Because here in this country, we know that ‘Medicare works’.

For many people this will ring true. Medicare is widely considered to be symbol of national equity. The sentiment is that in a wealthy country like Australia, no one should go without health care due to disadvantage, nor be bankrupted by medical bills. This is fair enough as far as it goes. But whether Medicare actually ‘works’ for those who most need assistance to access health services is another question altogether.

Yet, speaking from experience, if you dare to raise any doubts about the ‘jewel in the crown’ of Australian social democracy, you will provoke every ‘true believer’ in the land. Question the wisdom of Medicare in any way, shape, or form, and you are guaranteed to provoke the following loaded response, which is calculated to kill any debate about health reform stone dead. “If we change Medicare, Australia will end up like America with people dying out front of the hospital.”

Yet there is a factual reply that confounds the popular, Michael Moore-esque, conceit.

That reply is that Medicare now kills more Australians than the national road toll. An estimated 1500 avoidable deaths occur each year due delayed emergency treatment. The facts are that one third of emergency patients have to wait longer than eight hours before gaining admission to a bed, because public hospital bed numbers have been cut by one third since the start of Medicare.

This situation has been rightly dubbed the ‘hospital crisis’, and it includes the avoidable deaths that are caused by long waiting times for elective surgery. The truth is that thousands of Australian are dying each year because of long waits to get into overcrowded public hospitals.

What this illustrates are the systemic problems with Medicare.

When Medicare was introduced in 1984, Australians were told it would be all so simple and equitable: each Australian would pay a levy on their income according to their means, and receive treatment according to their needs. The reality is that an inverse care law applies under the scheme, which means patients with the greatest health needs receive the least responsive services.

This is the result of Medicare operating as what health economists describe as a ‘reverse insurance’ system. Medicare provides GP and other medical services on demand on a fee-for-service basis. All consultations and tests are either bulk billed or eligible for a rebate under the Medical Benefits Scheme. The MBS budget is uncapped and is funded entirely by the Federal Government.

This means Medicare is fundamentally flawed in principle. No sound health insurance system should cover minor medical costs from the first dollar spent because this inevitably leads to overuse and waste. Because consumers face either no charge or lower charges, unnecessary consultations and tests are encouraged. The MBS is a political ‘sacred cow’ for this very reason: Australians are in love with bulk billing because they can go to the doctor for ‘free’ whenever they like.

What isn’t understood is that the ever-increasing and open-ended cost of the MBS has led to funding and service imbalances in the hospital sector. To offset MBS spending, the Federal Government has always limited its financial exposure to the cost of public hospital care by giving the states only capped hospital grants.

The predictable response by financially over-stretched state governments has been to impose blunt expenditure controls in the public hospital system including massive cuts to bed numbers.

The result is that many Australians with serious health needs requiring hospital care do not receive timely treatment due to the tight ‘caps’ on hospital funding that federal and state governments both use to limit the cost of our ‘free’ health system.

The perverse outcome is that Medicare leaves people over-entitled at the least serious end of the health care spectrum, while the cost of the most serious, most expensive illnesses are inadequately covered.

If Australians are serious about the fabled ‘fair go’, then the view we should take is that Medicare fails to live up to the national ethos. Medicare means that even the well and worried receive unrestricted, subsidised doctor visits, while the sickest patients languish in the hospital queues that are the daily reality around the country.

Before banging on about the evils of the US health system, Australians would be better off admitting that the way Medicare ‘works’ is deeply inequitable.

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

GA: Obamabots seize execution drug on weak pretext: "The Drug Enforcement Administration confirmed Tuesday that the agency seized the state of Georgia's supply of a key lethal injection drug because of questions about how the stockpile was imported to the U.S. DEA spokesman Chuvalo Truesdell said he didn't know if other states' supplies of sodium thiopental were being collected."

Guatemalans sue US for deliberately spreading illness in 1940s experiment -- under a Democrat (Truman) administraion: "A lawsuit was filed Monday in a US district court on behalf of 700 Guatemalan soldiers, mental health patients, and orphans secretly experimented on from 1946 to 1948. An apology is not enough for Guatemalans deliberately infected with syphilis by a US medical team in the 1940s. Five months after the American taxpayer-funded medical experiment came to light, victims have brought a class-action lawsuit against the US government seeking compensation for resulting health problems. The experiments were “both unprecedented and unequivocally impermissible in the United States and throughout the civilized world,” the complaint states."

How Dems & bureaucrats use tragedy to hold taxpayers to ransom: "The New York Times thinks that Republican budget cuts are dangerous. Thus the headline in Monday’s edition: 'GOP Cuts Could Hit Tsunami Warning System, Foes Say.' ... Yikes! Are Republicans really so irresponsible, to the point of near legislative manslaughter? Answer: no, they are not"

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)

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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Poll on entitlements

Not surprisingly, people agree that undefined "cuts" to Medicare and Social Security are "unacceptable." But specific, meaningful changes to these programs are broadly supported — so much for truth in labeling.

In fact, reducing Medicare and Social Security benefits for wealthier retirees was supported by 62 percent of those asked. Raising the Social Security retirement age to 69 was backed by a 56-42 margin. Taken together, these two adjustments, supported by the president’s deficit reduction commission, would cover roughly 60 percent of the long-term shortfall in Social Security.

Most voters do not consider these changes to be "significant" cuts because the ideas strike them as common sense: the wealthy should pay a larger share of their Medicare costs; retirement age should reflect long-term changes in life expectancy. The challenge is to read far enough into a story to find the truth. Significance is in the eye of the beholder.

And what constitutes "significant" in the debate over this year’s discretionary spending levels? Extending the current spending resolution through the end of the fiscal year would cost $1.08 trillion. House Republicans passed a bill that would reduce this level by about $57 billion, while the president proposed $6 billion in cuts. The White House argues that its recommended reductions — about one-half of 1 percent — are "significant." Republicans disagree.

Strip away the rhetoric, and the difference between the two is about 5 percent of federal discretionary spending. Controlling a budget is never easy, but families and businesses rein in their spending by 4 or 5 percent all the time. More important, given that the United States just posted the largest monthly budget deficit in world history — $223 billion — one might hope we could do better than a half-percent reduction.

In fact, the NBC/WSJ poll showed that majorities support budget cuts to state government assistance, the Environmental Protection Agency, and transportation projects as well. Interestingly, after all the poll questions about program cuts had been asked, preference for "cutting important programs" actually increased from 35 to 37 percent, while support for raising taxes declined from 33 to 29 percent.

Polls shouldn’t determine budget policy; they simply show the degree to which the public recognizes that tough choices are at hand. Today’s fiscal crisis is bigger than any one government program, but if budget negotiators were to embrace public sentiment on retirement age and means-testing and find 3 or 4 percent in discretionary savings this year, they just might be on to something "significant."

SOURCE

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Rules for Wisconsin Radicals

Hint: Lose the whole '60s thing

Just before the package of labor reforms favored by Gov. Scott Walker made it through the Wisconsin legislature, students demonstrating inside the Capitol mobilized to show their resistance. On the floor of the rotunda, they linked their bodies to offer a little protest art for the photographers: a human peace sign.

Two days later, upwards of 100,000 people, some bussed in from elsewhere, converged on Madison to say that this is only the beginning. The idea, of course, is that the Republican governor and his Republican majorities in the Wisconsin legislature have thwarted democracy. By "overreaching," they are said to have done for Democrats what ObamaCare did for the Republicans: galvanize a demoralized base.

That's what the president of the AFL-CIO, Richard Trumka, meant when he told an audience last Thursday at the National Press Club, "Thank you, Scott Walker. We should have invited him here today to receive the Mobilizer of the Year Award."

Certainly the Badger Revolution has provoked protests on a level few anticipated. It's true too that many Americans are not yet sold on the need to roll back collective bargaining, even for public employees. Whether Wisconsin represents the emergence of a broad-based, national campaign against reform-minded Republican leaders, however, depends on something far less clear: the ability of the protest movement to reach beyond its own echo chamber to the nonunion middle class.

Saul Alinsky, the father of community organizing, would have relished the challenge. In the last chapter of his classic "Rules for Radicals," he put it this way. "Tactics must begin with the experience of the middle class, accepting their aversion to rudeness, vulgarity, and conflict. Start them easy, don't scare them off." The aim was to make the other guy look heavy-handed, and thus gain sympathy for your side.

In that spirit, here's an updated list of 10 rules for Wisconsin protesters:

1) No more Jesse Jackson . This man is a national symbol of agitation for agitation's sake, and he suggests to people who have not yet made up their minds that the protesters may be more radical than they claim.

2) Ditto for Michael Moore, Susan Sarandon and Tony Shaloub. Outsiders like these may excite the crowds, but they'll alienate people you need.

3) Lose the peace signs. It suggests a hankering for the anti-middle class 1960s, rather than a 21st-century struggle for a middle-class standard of living.

4) Put out more flags. Many of the farmers who drove past the Wisconsin Capitol on Saturday featured American flags. It wouldn't hurt to add a few verses of "God Bless America"—which demonstrators sang to good effect during last month's protest in Michigan's capital.

5) Respect the law. The broken doors and windows that resulted when protesters overwhelmed police trying to keep mobs out and allow legislators in did not help. By contrast, Gov. Walker was noticeably restrained in his use of force (perhaps because he feared the police, themselves members of a public-employees union, wouldn't obey him).

If you absolutely have to have people carted off by the cops, make sure they are moms and grandmoms—not bearded University of Wisconsin grad students.

6) If you are teachers, don't call in sick as a group so you can all protest. It suggests a certain insincerity about putting students first, especially when classes are cancelled.

7) No more Hitler mustaches on Gov. Walker. Not because is it unfair, but because Hitler analogies are tired. Ridicule would be far more effective.

8) Make local workers your public face: real teachers, real cops, real firemen. Even unpolished, they make a much more sympathetic case than the professional union leaders.

9) Don't call for grand actions likely only to end up confirming your weakness. Instead of going after all GOP state senators—a losing proposition—better to target one and make an example of him. The guy whose own wife signed a petition for his recall would be a good candidate.

10) Show some sympathy for the taxpayers. Show them you know they are paying your salaries—and that you know they are hurting.

Rallying those who share your outlook is easy. But Alinsky succeeded in neighborhoods such as Back of the Yards, Chicago in good part because of his ability to work with people and institutions with whom he had little in common. Accordingly, the first thing he often told would-be organizers was to get a haircut and a decent suit.

In "Rules for Radicals," Alinsky urged his successors to "return to the suburban scene of your middle class with its PTAs to League of Women Voters, consumer groups, churches, and clubs" and find "common ground." Especially for protesters hoping to come back from a resounding political defeat in Wisconsin, that's still good advice.

In fact, there's already one group following it—taking to the streets, demanding radical change, and upending the political status quo. It's called the tea party

SOURCE

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Why We Don't Agree

The writer below calls himself a "bleeding heart libertarian" but his views are essentially conservative. Conservatives have always accepted the need for some welfare measures and what we now call welfare was the invention of two notable 19th century conservative leaders: Otto von Bismarck and Benjamin Disraeli

The remarkable truth of this conversation between bleeding heart libertarians and progressives is that our disagreement is exclusively empirical. If we all agree that political institutions should be arranged to alleviate poverty, then the only remaining question is which policies actually do this. Why is it then that we cannot agree, or at least converge, by just looking at reliable data, studies, and empirical theories?

I suggest an answer: in the political arena, a person often supports a policy, not because of the effects he thinks that policy will have, but because his supporting it has symbolic value for himself or others. Supporting the minimum wage is an act that stands for a value such as concern for the poor. The person who is concerned for the poor wants to express that concern, and there are acts that socially symbolize that concern: praising the New Deal, announcing that you voted for a Democrat, supporting public schools, criticizing Bush.

Symbolic behavior, I hasten to say, is not exclusive of progressives. In libertarian circles someone may oppose environmental regulation for symbolic reasons. That position evinces a hostile attitude toward government regulation in general which he wants to express. In his haste to send the right signals he overlooks (say) the problems of externalities and market failure.

The speaker in these cases might not simply want to express himself. He may be anxious to be accepted in certain groups who associate the verbal act with other beliefs that the speaker presumably has and that make him a desirable candidate for admission.

I have found that this problem, self-defeating political symbolism, is extraordinarily hard to eradicate and fatally gets in the way of agreement between these two audiences. Progressives feel compelled to stand by their positions even in the face of evidence that the policies they advocate frustrate the goal they profess. They stick to those views because the views strongly symbolize and give unity to a vision of the world associated with social justice. Libertarians, on the other hand, have a hard time convincing progressives that they care for the poor because they endorse policies that do not socially symbolize concern for social justice.

I do not know how to get around this problem, but, for whatever is worth, I find symbolic behavior morally objectionable, because the speaker cares about the values he expresses more than about those persons he says he wants to help.

SOURCE

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"Death Panels" sneak back in

Sarah Palin was right

IBD has received a letter from Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius requesting information on “the improper inclusion of a proposal to encourage end-of-life planning in a Medicare regulation in the fall of 2010.”

Late last year, a controversy erupted when in November a set of final regulations for Medicare contained a provision enabling Medicare to pay for “end-of-life” counseling. A furor ensued over the fact that (1) this raised the entire “death panel” specter again; and (2) the provision was not in the proposed regulations released in August, thereby shielding the provision from the lengthy public comment period that is supposed to follow proposed regulations.

No one was sure who was responsible for slipping the provision into the 692-page final regulation. Until eleven days ago. Here is Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., asking Sebelius about the matter. In short, Sebelius admits that she was the one who slipped it in without allowing for public comment.

This has prompted Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee to send a letter Monday to Sebelius demanding more information. The letter says that the “inclusion of this regulation was clearly an attempt to subvert the democratic process.” Further, the Republicans state:

"We are very disturbed by your actions. It is clear that end-of-life regulations would not make it through Congress or survive a public debate during the rulemaking process, and were thus dropped into the final rule without allowing the public any opportunity to comment. The secrecy surrounding their inclusion in the final rule indicates that this was a political maneuver designed to avoid public scrutiny and comment."

The letter further asks Sebelius to make a “designee” available to committee staffers next week so they can learn more about the “internal discussions” at HHS regarding “how the proposal was surreptitiously inserted.”

SOURCE. (See the original for links)

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Dems at radicalization hearings recite Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated group’s talking points

The Daily Caller has acquired the talking points that the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), a group with deep ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, supplied to its supporters as an aid in attacking the Muslim radicalization hearing New York Republican Rep. Peter King held Thursday. Save for Texas Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s incoherent ramblings on Thursday, Democrats’ statements and testimony against King’s hearing, whether intentionally or unintentionally, largely mirrored MPAC’s talking points.

MPAC recommended that its supporters accuse King of “pure political posturing,” and told them to say, “these hearings appear little more than a political circus with Rep. King as the ringleader.” MPAC also recommended supporters say that the “hearings hurt our national security” because of their “narrow scope.” Finally, it said supporters should say that the hearings were unnecessary because “active” partnerships between law enforcement and the American Muslim community already exist.

California Democratic Rep. Laura Richardson hit on the “pure political posturing” point in the MPAC memo. She compared King’s hearings to those of the McCarthy era.

Rep. Al Green, Texas Democrat, asked why King wasn’t investigating the Ku Klux Klan, something that plays right into the MPAC “suggested message” that the “hearings hurt our national security” because of a “narrow scope.”

Minnesota Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison regurgitated all the MPAC talking points in his testimony at the beginning of the hearing.

“Ascribing the evil acts of a few individuals to an entire community is wrong; it is ineffective; and it risks making our country less secure,” Ellison said. “Targeting the Muslim American community for the actions of a few is unjust. Actually all of us–all communities–are responsible for combating violent extremism. Singling out one community focuses our analysis in the wrong direction.”

A spokesman for Ellison told TheDC that the congressman didn’t receive the MPAC talking points and “wrote his testimony himself.” A spokesman for Green did not immediately respond to TheDC’s request for comment.

More HERE

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)

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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Leftist dishonesty

If it suits their emotional needs, Leftists will defend the indefensible. They are incapable of admitting that their opponents are right. And they are not ashamed to use the most disreputable and invalid forms of argument. Note below how they defend their friends, the Muslim extremists:
On his popular nationally syndicated talk-radio show yesterday, Michael Savage spotlighted the behavior of Democrats at the controversial House hearing on radicalization in the Muslim community in America. "Did you see how the Democrats behaved? How disgusting their behavior was?" Savage asked, pointing to Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, as one of many examples.

After the hearing Thursday, Green bullied a reporter who pointed out that of 126 terror indictments by the Justice Department, all were of Muslims. But Green insisted the Ku Klux Klan should have been investigated along with Muslim radicalization.

"Mr. Green, Mr. Green," Savage interjected as he played the clip. "The KKK is a despicable organization. They've been investigated, they've been penetrated. Half of them are FBI agents." Instead of embracing an investigation of Islam in America, Savage wondered, "why is Al Green suddenly talking about the KKK?"

More HERE

How many KKK members have gone on shooting sprees at U.S. army bases? But the argument is a non-argument anyway. If someone wants to investigate the KKK, let them. It could be interesting to find out whether they are still all Democrats! But to claim that there should be another enquiry speaks not at all to whether the first enquiry is justified!

And the other classic of illogic is the ad hominem attack: Abusing the arguer rather than addressing his argument. And you can find heaps of attacks on Peter King of that sort here.

And there have of course been innumerable comparisons of Peter King with Joe McCarthy. Again, however, that is a barb without a sting -- if only because McCarthy was eventually proved right after the fall of the Soviet Union. To accuse King of McCarthyism is to accuse King of accuracy!

And the most amusing thing of all about McCarthy is that he is regularly blamed for the deeds of the Democrat-led HUAC. Yet McCarthy was a Senator and HUAC stands for "HOUSE Un-American Activities Committee"! And the HUAC enquiries lasted far longer (37 years!) than McCarthy's enquiries did. How odd that we never hear Democrats blaming HUAC for anything! They only criticize HUAC when they think they can attribute it to McCarthy!

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ATF Should Change Its Name to WTF

Doug Giles comments on efforts by the ATF to "plant" evidence of gun smuggling

What finally drew my ire and ink was the underreported story about how, according to Alan M. Gottlieb, Chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA), the Obama Administration and members of Congress are still trying to take away our Second Amendment rights, especially in the wake of the Tucson shootings.

And I quote: “The ATF has a very political agenda in mind, and that is to take away your gun rights—even if it means allowing gun sales to criminals so they can present ‘evidence’ to the administration that the Second Amendment should be restricted or abolished!”

For instance, Gottlieb reports:

On December 14, 2010, Customs and Border Protection Agent Brian Terry was shot as he tried to capture heavily armed “bandits” targeting illegal immigrants trying to get across the border near Rio Rico, Arizona. He died the next morning. It was a tragic incident that occurs frequently on our southern border, made all the more tragic because the semi-automatic rifle that was used to kill Agent Terry was bought by a criminal and smuggled into Mexico under the watchful eye of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).

William La Jeunesse (Fox News broadcast, February 22, 2011) states, “The gun used to kill Agent Brian Terry has been sourced, not to Mexico, but to a gun store in Phoenix that was actually part— and cooperating with—a federal investigation into arms trafficking. However, U.S. agents did not stop the sale or the transfer of that gun to the cartels that killed Terry.”

Quoting Gottlieb again, the accusations against ATF and DOJ officials include:

1. They intentionally allowed perhaps as many as 3,000 firearms to “walk” across the U.S. border into Mexico.

2. They instructed U.S. gun dealers to proceed with questionable and illegal sales of firearms to suspected gunrunners.

3. They intentionally withheld information about U.S.-sanctioned gun smuggling from the Mexican government.

4. One of the guns ATF allowed or helped to be smuggled into Mexico was involved in the death of CBP Agent Brian Terry.

Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) is now demanding answers on ATF's “Project Gunrunner.” Hundreds of guns were allowed to be purchased along the border by alleged straw buyers, while ATF conducted its investigation and DID NOTHING. The ATF looked the other way while these guns slipped into Mexico into the hands of drug cartels, and then they blamed gun laws in the United States for the transactions.

Anti-gun activists, led by the Obama administration, are doing all they can to make the connection between law-abiding citizens and deranged criminals—even standing by while known drug dealers purchase guns on our soil and take them back to Mexico ... and then use them to take the lives of our brave border agents!

Whistleblower John Dodson, 39, a front-line agent for the ATF, told the Center for Public Integrity that the guns the ATF allowed into the hands of drug lords and gun runners “are going to be turning up in crimes on both sides of the border for decades. With the number of guns we let walk, we'll never know how many people were killed, raped, robbed ... there is nothing we can do to round up those guns. They are gone.” Dodson said his supervisors were “elated every time a gun was recovered in Mexico” because they “saw it as proving the nexus that we were dealing with a real drug trafficking group.”

For two years, we've been hearing from Holder and others in the Obama administration about a so-called “iron pipeline” of American guns across the border, and federal officials have been working to strip you of your rights.

Wouldn't it be ironic to learn that while the Obama administration was blaming our gun rights for the drug war violence in Mexico, its own gun sting operation was a major source of illicit firearms?

Gottlieb and The CCRKBA call on Congress to support Senator Grassley's investigation into “Project Gunrunner” and to cut funding to the corrupt ATF immediately. Obama nominated anti-gun zealot Andrew Traver to head up the ATF prior to Congressional recess last year and reappointed him in the 112th Congress, but the Senate Judiciary Committee has yet to hold hearings. Rumors are that this Gunrunner issue is causing problems because the ATF doesn’t want questions about this case to come up. What does the ATF not want us to know?

SOURCE

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The Real Battle: Makers v. Takers

Ideological budget battles between GOP and Dems in congress mask the real battle erupting across America-- the battle between the makers and the takers. Entrepreneurs and other working Americans, the makers, are growing tired of government's rapacious hand in their financial pocket and they are becoming more aggressive and more outspoken in their protests. Dems should expect this trend to continue.

The recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report citing systemic high unemployment for the past two years shows that of the approximately 300 million Americans, only 47% of adults have full-time jobs. It's a mind-boggling statistic: 53%-- or a majority -- of American adults do not work. The repercussions for our country are dire, despite the White House proclaiming the recent Labor report as good news.

Meanwhile Dems in Congress are relying on an elaborate Ponzi-scheme of increased taxes and hide-the-budget-pickle to justify spending increases on a bevy of social re-engineering programs while the White House continues to champion an expansion of the regulatory straight jacket hobbling entrepreneurs.

Clearly, the White House operates in a cloud of incredible conceit. Team Obama seems to believe that entrepreneurs can innovate and create new jobs and grow the American pie regardless of his anti-growth, pro-tax, increasingly regulatory policies that are crushing small businesses. Even as President Obama and Dems in Congress maneuver and scheme to help "takers" protect their claim to an ever larger slice of the pie, the pie is likely to get smaller and is no longer growing as before.

GOP mostly represents the "makers"--the entrepreneurs who create the pies that the White House wants to tax and regulate to death. Increasingly, the Dems represent the "takers"--the folks on the dole, receiving entitlement support, government subsidies and those deriving power from government protectionism. The battle lines between these two groups, the Makers and the Takers, has never been more apparent.

Takers, dependent upon government and their union allies, argue that in these rough economic times, they need to preserve or increase their slice of the pie. Makers are worried whether, given the increase in government regulatory handcuffs and increased tax knee-capping, they can even make a pie.

Our country now runs the risk that the equivalent of donor fatigue is setting in as the 47% of Americans who actually work are asked to bear even greater burdens for public support. Dems should be worried about how much longer their demands will be tolerated. Eventually, even a dancing chicken will jump off the hot stove.

The March 2011 Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment report showed that private industry employers spent an average of $27.75 per hour worked for total employee compensation and that the average cost for legally required benefits was $2.28 per hour worked in private industry (8.2 percent of total compensation).

Is it any wonder that businesses aren't able to grow at a rate to keep up with the growth in government spending?

Another disturbing statistics from the Consumer Price Index (CPI) reported that the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 1.6 percent over the last 12 months. This is more bad news for taxpaying Americans because the price of goods went up for them, which means their paychecks don't stretch as far, but it also means that the voracious requirements for increasing government wealth transfer schemes grow, which increases Democrat demands that working Americans pay even more.

Rush Limbaugh has said that "no nation in history ever taxed itself to prosperity." How true. But, George Bernard Shaw best explained the dilemma faced by the GOP makers when he said: "A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on Paul's support." The takers, currently outnumbering the makers, will always be willing to vote more taxes on the Makers. The takers will continue to use guilt-tripping rhetoric to try to make Makers feel guilty that they aren't doing more for them.

The Makers v. the Takers--now that's the real battle for the ages.

SOURCE

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Obama: 'The best revolutions are organic'

James Lewis (below) sees in a recent statement by Obama traces of extreme Leftist theology. He may be right. Obama certainly has been steeped in that thinking. On the whole, however, I am inclined to think that Obama may have simply meant that the best revolutions are ones which originate as a spontaneous uprising among the people

We finally have a quote from Obama that sounds authentic. It's something he believes, or at least it's something that some Marxist professor told him back at Occidental or Columbia, in the old dope-smoking days, one that stuck in his mind. Behind the scenes in the White House Obama apparently trotted out this gem of Marxist-Leninist wisdom several times during the Middle East firestorms of the last two months, according to this source: "The best revolutions are organic."

This is while they are trying to decide whether to save any lives, and the whole Muslim world is exploding. Obama is doing nothing except giving a push to Mubarak and Khadafi -- which is bound to make things worse in the short run. In Egypt the military took over and stabilized the situation, and Libya has a real civil war. But Iran is doing fine, thanks to Obama's gullibility in dealing with the blood-spattered mullahs. Oh, well. Zero out of three ain't bad.

But now we know why The President of the United States was doing nothing. He wasn't protecting the rebels in Libya from the tender mercies of Khaddafi's air force, because a Western intervention in Africa would not be "organic." That's `cause "the best revolutions are organic."

Now "organic" doesn't mean that the Egyptian rebellion was grown in goat manure, or that it came in little recycled bags complete with a jolly banana sticker and locally grown, certified E coli. No, this is "organic" the way grand historical speculators like Marx, Lenin, Arnold Toynbee and Oswald Spengler liked to use "organic."

Here's an example from Wikipedia: "In 1920 Spengler produced Prussiandom and Socialism (Preuáentum und Sozialismus), which argued for an organic, nationalist version of socialism and authoritarianism... "

The Nazis claimed that their revolution was "organic," just like Spengler's idea. The word "organic" has a specific meaning in this madcap fantasy world. It means "having a united racial soul." No kidding. It all makes perfect sense in German Romanticism, which loved being organic.

Obama's notion of "organic revolutions" comes from a French Leninist movement of "negritude," or ideological blackness. It means "really, truly black," as opposed to phony blackness, like the kind Justice Clarence Thomas has. To the Madcap Left, Sarah Palin is not a real woman, Justice Thomas isn't black, and Obama, who has no personal roots in the American black experience at all, is really black. Black is not a color.

None of this belongs in a White House of sane and realistic people. It is grotesque. Obama's White House today is evading the very real question of innocent people whose lives are at risk in Libya. They are pumping dense clouds of smoke to cover up their real thinking.

More here

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ELSEWHERE

Reclaiming the word “liberal”: "I propose that we call left-liberals just that, not 'liberals' without qualification. Doing so would help reclaim the original name of an honorable old political tradition. It would resist the purloining and perversion of the word 'liberal' as used in the United States."

Wikileaks suspect being mistreated in jail says State Department spokesman: "US State Department spokesman PJ Crowley has said the Pentagon is being 'ridiculous and stupid' in subjecting American soldier Bradley Manning to mistreatment at Quantico in Virginia over the alleged leak of US diplomatic cables through the Wikileaks website. Crowley said Manning was being "mistreated" in the military brig, adding: "What is being done to Bradley Manning is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid on the part of the Department of Defence." Manning is being held for 23 hours in solitary confinement in his cell and stripped naked every night." [Crowley was later fired for speaking out so it sounds like he was right]

Obama’s disgrace: "Traditionally in the United States, when the government cannot bear its burden of proof before a court, it must set a suspect free. But the so-called 'war on terror' changed all that for people arbitrarily branded terrorist suspects or enemy combatants. Carrying on the policy established by Bush, the Obama administration takes the position that someone felt to be a threat to national security can be denied a trial and held prisoner indefinitely. Nothing is more un-American. "

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)

****************************

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

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